Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Max Lucado's Trinity
Recently, I've been teaching a class covering various periods in church history. This past week, I covered the Council of Nicea, so I've been reading a lot on the Trinity and the deity of Christ. Truly brilliant was B.B. Warfield's "The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity (The Works of B.B. Warfield vol. II). Also very helpful was Dr. White's book, The Forgotten Trinity (as well as his article, "What Really Happened at Nicea?").
On the other hand, while looking around in the library of my church, I came across Max Lucado's book, No Wonder They Call Him The Savior. I had completely forgotten about this book. I had read it some years back, probably ten years ago. My copy, wherever it is, is penciled up with my own notes, as most of my books are (I tend to interact with the texts I read). There was one particular point in this book that I've never forgotten. So, I thumbed through the copy from the library. For a moment, I wondered if the text really said what I had remembered. It had been at least ten years since I had read it. Sure enough, it was there.
Commenting on, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46), Lucado states:
"The despair is darker than the sky. The two who have been one are now two. Jesus, who had been with God for eternity, is now alone. The Christ, who was an expression of God, is abandoned. The Trinity is dismantled. The Godhead is disjointed. The unity is dissolved" (p. 47).
Contrary to Max Lucado, the Trinity has never been dismantled, and the Godhead has never been disjointed. The persons of the Trinity are coeternal. The word "coeternal" would cease to describe the Trinity if Lucado is right.
I know many struggle with Matthew 27:46, but one thing should be perfectly clear. If Jesus intended by his words to state that "the unity is dissolved," one has to explain why Luke records Jesus then saying, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). If such separation between the Godhead had taken place, certainly Jesus would not have said these words.